Campanula takes its name from the latin for ‘little bell’ (no sniggering at the back of the class please). It’s pretty obvious why: the striking flowers appear each season in the shape of lilting, lolling bells, often rich in blues and purples as they ding-dong merrily around the temperate wilds of their Mediterranean homelands.
Often in FOTW we talk about literary allusions, and occasionally we talk about food-related uses for our featured bloom. I think the campanula is the first to have a combined culinary-literary fact however. The campanula rapunculus was once widely grown in Europe for its spinach-like leaves and radish-like roots. This particular species of campanula also gave its name to the Brothers Grimm fairytale character, Rapunzel. Not quite sure why. Answers on a postcard?
Whilst it might have once sent veggie-chomping Europeans wild, it’s now thought to symbolise undying love, honesty and obedience. Equating obedience to undying love sounds a little off to us, personally – let’s reclaim the bellflower! From now on it symbolises undying love, unruly independent spirit and a love of radish-like roots.
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